Inhibition of angiogenesis by the tumour suppressor protein p53 may have a critical role in the progression of cardiac hypertrophy to cardiac failure, a paper published online by Nature suggests. Targeting this process may prove therapeutically useful.
When the heart struggles to pump blood around the body, it can compensate by becoming enlarged (hypertrophy). But prolonged cardiac hypertrophy can be fatal and lead to heart failure. Issei Komuro and colleagues studied a mouse model of cardiac hypertrophy. As the animals' hearts became enlarged, new blood vessels were seen to grow, supporting cardiac hypertrophy. But after about two weeks, p53 levels increased, angiogenesis was inhibited and the mice progressed to cardiac failure. The absence of p53 or the introduction of factors that stimulate angiogenesis prevented the progression from cardiac hypertrophy to heart failure.
Issei Komuro (Chiba University, Japan)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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